Government must continue separating church and state

Religion in government is un-American

Adah Koivula

Puritans, Quakers, Jews and many other religious groups came to the U.S. for the first time mainly for religious freedom after being persecuted throughout Europe. They became the Founding Fathers of the United States of America. Currently, our government officials are persecuting those without religion, contrary to what our founders thought was right, making today’s government as corrupt as the old monarchies of Europe.

The Founding Fathers did not include religion in their government offices because they knew there needed to be no religion in politics. But now, politicians submit their constituents to their religion, violating the Constitution. This needs to stop.

The Founding Fathers saw the negative effects of religion embedded in government all across Europe and wanted to avoid the same fate. They wrote the Constitution as a wholly secular document, outlining how the U.S. government would work.

Religion is mentioned in the Constitution only twice: in the First Amendment, where laws “respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” cannot be written, and in the Sixth Amendment, when it says there could be no “religious test” for public office. They understood forcing religious beliefs onto someone else was not freedom.

Lately, in the U.S., it seems as though some government officials need to re-read the Constitution. Presidential candidate Ted Cruz hopes to force everyone to be a Southern Baptist like himself. He has openly spoken against the Supreme Court ruling allowing marriage equality and even supports actions to undermine it. Cruz has a right to believe his way, but he has no legal grounds for action.

Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis is another elected official who seems to have forgotten what the First Amendment states. Kim Davis, an Apostolic Pentecostal, has the right to her faith, but does not have the right to enforce her religion on others by refusing to offer marriage licenses. Religion does not belong in our government in any form, because not everyone believes the same things.

Elected officials and presidential candidates need to keep in mind what the First Amendment states. They need to remember they are free to have their own religion, but they are not free to condemn others for their beliefs.